Last Friday was the day when the final three contestants on American Idol went back home for parades and lots of waving. Kris went somewhere in middle America as did Danny while Adam stayed in sunny California and headed south to his home town of San Diego.
As luck would have it, Two of my friends (who I have yet to meet in real life but will someday) got the opportunity to go the San Diego and join in the festivities. They were kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some of my questions.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about the events of Friday. First, tell me something about yourselves.
Rhonda Kramer: I currently work in Los Angeles as a Radio Traffic anchor for KFWB News 980, a CBS Affiliate. I have been on the air here in LA for almost 30 years. My daughter became interested in theater and we found MET2 when she was only 6 years old. I worked as a volunteer for many of the productions. I did it for so long that the local theater asked me if I wanted to work for them part-time. I accepted in 2001 and have been working as a theater tech AND getting paid for it ever since. My daughter is now 23 and has been living in NYC, attending The New School University earning her degree in Musical Theater. She is moving back to Los Angeles next weekend to continue school here and also continue her acting career. She will be seen next season on several episodes of Californication. I have an older brother; two younger sisters and my father, all living close by.
Leslie Kychik: I am currently self employed working out of my house doing Court documents for a court reporting company. It keeps me very, very busy. I have been married for almost 22 years and have two kids, a 19 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. My daughter brought home a flyer to participate in MET2 when she was 7 and we have been hooked ever since. I currently manage the San Diego location of MET2 and enjoy every minute of it. Even though it is hectic, I have met a lot of friends that I now consider family. My daughter is also on staff with MET2 in San Diego and loves it. I have one younger brother and my mom who live close by.
How do you two know Adam?
Leslie: Adam was a part of the theater group that my kids have been involved in for years, MET2, formerly known as CTN. Adam grew up with this theatre group from the age of 9 through 17. My daughter has performed with Adam on stage at the Poway Center for Performing Arts when she was younger.
Rhonda: I am from the Los Angeles chapter of MET 2, so I met Adam when my daughter and I were invited to San Diego to participate in the production of “Secret Garden”. I remember when we first arrived that evening for rehearsals, Adam was singing. Alex Urban, the artistic director was standing on the side of the stage listening. I asked who he was and he said he had been with the program for years and they were trying him out in an adult role for the first time. I stood there listening, and was amazed at the talent and range he had, even at the age of 14 or 15.
What is MET2?
MET2, Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network is a non-profit educational organization committed to providing young people with the unique opportunity to be active participants in the dramatic process as actors, singers and dancers. Mr. Alex H. Urban, founder, designed a program that provides children with high quality creative learning experiences. These experiences contribute to personal growth and self-confidence, stimulate interest in others, encourage meaningful group relationships and strengthen skills in listening, speaking, observation and body coordination. Mr. Urban passed away in 2007 but his legacy lives on through his widow, Kathie Urban, Executive Producer, and Alison Bretches, Artistic Director.
MET 2 has been a wonderful starting ground for many young performers. There are several currently performing on Broadway in lead roles, some have gone on to work for Disney and there are also several kids seen on television. Of course Adam is the most recognized to date, but many have had great success in the arts.
What time did your day start on Friday?
For starters, we were both up really late Thursday night in anticipation of Friday’s activities. Needless to say, not much sleep was had by either of us. We were both up early on the morning of Adam’s homecoming…we couldn’t sleep because we were too excited to see him! Leslie was up at 4 a.m. and Rhonda got a little more rest and was up at 5:30 a.m.!
Take me through your day.
We grabbed an early bite to eat and then headed to Mt. Carmel High School, Adam’s alma mater, where he was going to be making an appearance. When we got there, we made signs and waited around for him to arrive. While we were waiting, lots of people were arriving to support him filing into the stadium seats. Adam finally arrived at about 10 a.m. in his white stretch limo. As the limo went into the parking lot of the school, he rolled down the window and waved to his fans. He went onto the school campus to visit with some drama classes and then came out to the football field about 11:00 a.m. in a red convertible Ford Mustang.
He looked completely thrilled to be there and was soaking up all of the applause. You should have seen the size of his bodyguard! Big bald guy…would not want to mess with him! They drove him around the track and the crowd went absolutely wild! He then made his way up to the stage and began singing. He sang “Black and White” and then “Mad World”. The Mayor of San Diego was there and proclaimed that day, May 8th, “Adam Lambert Day” in San Diego and presented him with a plaque.
In case you didn't see it on the news, the above is a video of an overly excited fan.
What was the general crowd’s reaction to the girl?
The girl that came flying out of nowhere basically got the crowd going. She lunged at Adam as she was taking off her shirt. The crowd seemed to be cheering and we could hear Adam laughing in the microphone. We think he was in shock that something like that would happen. As of you saw, it took several people to drag the girl off the stage. She was probably a student at the high school who did that for attention and we guess she got it! It was all over the news the next day. We would imagine if it was a student she is now expelled or suspended!
What was your favorite part of the day?
This question is a no brainer, Kristi. Our favorite part of the day was when Adam Lambert came back to his theatre group, MET2, and sat down with a small group of about 135 kids and adults at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. How lucky we were to have him all to ourselves with no huge crowds…it was truly amazing!! The hardest part of this whole thing was we couldn’t tell anybody he was coming there to see us until after it was over! Adam talked to the kids in the cast of Seussical about his time he spent with MET2 and how he learned so much. He told the kids to never give up on their dreams and not to listen to people who tell them they’ll never make it.
The cast then sang a couple of songs from Seussical, and he loved it. He even critiqued a couple of the actors and the kids just loved it. He also took a lot of questions from the kids and answered each of them. After the question and answer session, Adam then made his way out to the lobby where he sat down and signed autographs, posed for pictures and talked to everybody. It was truly an exciting thing for us and something we will never forget.
Adam spent over an hour with us in the theater, and we all just soaked it in, kind of pinching ourselves that it was really happening. He is a super star and will be our next American Idol!